Club History / Background
The idea for a South Bay surf club originated from Mike Balzer in 2008. His son Shane was 9 and his daughter Malia was 6. They weren’t enthusiastic about dad teaching them to surf because they wanted to play with their friends and their friends didn’t surf. For many parents who had grown up in the South Bay riding waves since they were young, it was difficult to accept their own kids having little or no interest spending time at the beach in the surf. Times seemed to be changing, and the historical surf culture that had been a large part of the South Bay community was slowly slipping away.
Later in 2008, Balzer mentioned the club idea to three other former Pier Avenue Junior High and Mira Costa High School schoolmates: Dan Bradford, Tom Horton and Derek Levy during a lunch at El Gringo. One thing was clear, it was time for The South Bay surfing and paddling community to come together and create a club that is fun for all ages, family oriented, and makes a difference in our community and the ocean environment. All three embraced the idea, but had reservations because surfing is such an individualistic sport, and no one had experience starting a club or knew what it was going to take to make it happen.
Finally, on October 7, 2009, following another lunch meeting at El Gringo between Mike, Derek, and Tom, they walked out of the restaurant and decided to stop talking about how to start a club and actually take some action. All three invited about 50 friends to attend a meeting on November 12, 2009 at Tom & Darci Horton’s home to share Mike’s idea of a surf club, and ask “Who’s in?”. The positive energy and vibe at that initial meeting was so strong there was no doubt the South Bay surfing community had been waiting for a club to bring families and friends together for fun and to give back to the community, as well as protect our beaches and ocean environment. That evening, the birth of The South Bay Boardrider’s Club (SBBC) became a reality.
Since then, SBBC has created the following events, and as we continue to evolve, new events are likely to be introduced:
• The South Bay Surf Series
• The Big Wave Challenge
• Grom O Rama
• Velzy-Stevens Pier 2 Pier Paddleboard Race
• Outrigger Canoe Paddling introduction
• Scuba Diving introduction
The success of SBBC thus far is due to the dedication and support of our volunteers and sponsors. Without them we would not be where we are today, and our continued growth and success is dependent on maintaining these relationships. Thank you to everyone who has played a part, big or small, to ensure a healthy, vibrant club.